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Avoid these dangers

When hiking Del Norte County, you may encounter one of several dangers, from wild animals to bad weather. To ensure your safety, follow these tips:

Bears

Like all mammals in our parks, bears are wild. Inviting them into your picnic or camp – on purpose or accidentally – can result in damage to your equipment, you, or the bear. Avoid

personal injury by following these precautions:

•Use the campgrounds'

bearproof lockers for food

and all scented items.

•Dispose of garbarge

immediately in bearproof

trash cans.

•Carry a bearproof canister

when backpacking.

•Keep a clean camp.

•Never feed bears.

•If a bear approaches or

stands up, wave your arms

and shout. Do not run.

•Report any sightings to a

park ranger.

Elk

The northern redwood region's most often seen land mammalis the Roosevelt elk. As the largest subspecies of North American elk, bulls can weigh as much as 1,200 pounds. Use caution withthis wild animal:

•Bulls are aggressive in

guarding their cow elk

harems in the fall.

•Cows willcharge andkick

with their fronthooves

when threatened,

particularly during calving

season in the spring.

•Never approach an elk.

Mountain lions

Cougars(mountain lions) are large, seldom seen

forest inhabitants. Still, mountain lion sightings have increased in recent years and like any wild animal, they can be dangerous. The following suggestions are recommended in lion

country:

Prevent an encounter

•Do not hike alone.

•Keep children in sight; do

not let them run ahead of

you on the trail.

•Keep a clean camp.

•Be alert to your

surroundings.

•Report all lion sightings to a

ranger immediately.

If you meet a lion

•Do not run.

•Do not crouch or bend over.

•Stand up and face the lion.

•Pick up young children.

•Appear large; wave your

arms or jacket.

•Slowly back away.

If a lion attacks

•Do not turn your back or

take your eyes off it.

•Shout loudly.

•Fight back aggressively.

Poison oak

Poison oak can be identified with the saying "Leaves of three, let them be":

•Contact with poison oak

leaves can cause an itchy

skin rash, so wash

thoroughly if you brush

against it.

•Stay on trails to avoid

contact.

Ticks

Ticks that carry Lyme disease occur in the area:

•Stay on trails.

•Tuck pant legs into socks

and shirt into pants.

•Inspect your head and body

after a hike.

•Check clothing after a hike;

wear light colors to easily

spot a tick.

Tides

•Check a tide chart.

•Keep an eye on the surf for

"sneaker" waves. A sneaker

wave is a wave that is larger

than it appears.

SOURCE: National Park Service

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